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Mixed Doubles Qualifying Round begins this week in Minnesota

By Terry L. Davis | Jan. 23, 2017, 10:57 a.m. (ET)

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For Immediate Release

Jan. 23, 2017

Mixed doubles national qualifier begins Wednesday in Minnesota

(STEVENS POINT, Wis.) – The eight-sheet Curl Mesabi is set to host the qualifying round of the 2017 Mixed Doubles National Championship Jan. 26-29 in Eveleth, Minn.

Twenty-two duos are set to compete this week in the qualifying round to secure berths to the 2017 USA Curling Mixed Doubles National Championship March 1-5 at the Four Seasons Curling Club in Blaine, Minn.

Six teams have already qualified to the national championship, including Joe Polo (Duluth, Minn.) and Tabitha Peterson (Minneapolis, Minn.), who won bronze at the 2016 World Mixed Doubles Championship. Five teams have qualified based on a scheduling conflict in which U.S. teams, skipped by Nina Roth (McFarland, Wis.) and John Shuster (Superior, Wis.), are competing in the Americas Challenge this weekend to secure USA’s berths for the 2017 World Men’s and World Women’s Championships. A complete list of the competitors in the qualifying round, as well as the teams pre-qualified to the USA Curling Mixed Doubles National Championship, is listed below.

Mixed doubles varies from the traditional curling game. Five stones are thrown instead of eight and the ends begin with two stones already in play for each team – as a center guard or a stone in the rings behind the tee-line behind the guard. One player delivers the first and fifth stone while the other teammate throws the three stones in between. Teams can get up and sweep their own stone or have their teammate come out and sweep for them. At one point during the eight-end game, teams can opt to use the “power play,” which places the two stationary rocks as a corner guard and a stone in the rings behind the guard in an effort to generate additional offense.

Mixed doubles will debut as an Olympic medal sport in 2018 in PyeongChang, South Korea. Eight countries will compete and the U.S. is well on its way to securing one of those berths based on last year’s third-place finish at the World Championship. South Korea, as host of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, earns an automatic berth and the other seven countries that will compete in mixed doubles are determined by accumulating points at the 2016 and 2017 World Mixed Doubles Championship events. The American duo of Polo and Peterson secured 10 qualification points for the United States in 2016.

If the U.S. secures a berth in mixed doubles for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, an Olympic Trials will take place in December (dates and site to be announced). The top five teams from the 2017 Mixed Doubles National Championship will earn berths to compete in the Olympic Mixed Doubles Trials. In addition, a minimum of three teams may qualify for the Trials via discretionary selection to bring the Trials field to a maximum of eight teams.

Live scoring will be available throughout the qualifying event at www.usacurl.org.

Here is a look at the competing teams in the hunt to secure spots to the 2017 USA Curling Mixed Doubles National Championship:

  • Sean Beighton and Jillian Walker (both of Seattle)
  • Cristin Clark (Lynnwood, Wash.) and Matt Birklid (Mountlake Terrace, Wash.)
  • Craig Brown (Monona, Wis.) and Sarah Anderson (Minneapolis, Minn.)
  • Madison Bear (Pardeeville, Wis.) and Hunter Clawson (Clarksville, Md.)
  • Jamie Sinclair (St. Paul, Minn.) and Korey Dropkin (Duluth, Minn.)
  • Em Good and MacAllan Guy (both of Seattle)
  • Taylor Anderson (Minneapolis, Minn.) and Tom Howell (Milwaukee, Wis.)
  • Jeremy Hozjan (Fort Mill, S.C.) and Stacie Pinnavaia (Charlotte, N.C.)
  • Kathy Jackson and Murray Jackson (both of Raleigh, N.C.)
  • Stephanie Larson (Rosamond, Calif.) and Fred Maxie (Scottsdale, Ariz.)
  • Gary Mazzotta (Minneapolis, Minn.) and Kelsey Ostrowski (Woodbury, Minn.)
  • Alex Carlson (St. Paul, Minn.) and Derrick McLean (Bothell, Wash.)
  • Gabriel Nickel (Saint Croix Falls, Wis.) and Kirstin McKeown (Robbinsdale, Minn.)
  • Allison Pottinger and Doug Pottiner (both of Eden Prairie, Minn.)
  • Jenna Burchesky (Walpole, Mass.) and Ben Richardson (Issaquah, Wash.)
  • Monica Walker and Jason Smith (both of St. Paul, Minn.)
  • Peter Stolt and Maureen Stolt (both of Plymouth, Minn.)
  • Ryan O’Neil (Columbus, Ohio) and Logan Tinley (Celina, Ohio)
  • Larissa Unruh and Sam Unruh (both of Bismarck, N.D.)
  • Clare Moores (Denver) and Quentin Way (Littleton, Colo.)
  • Lance Wheeler (Wheat Ridge, Colo.) and Becca Wood (Parker, Colo.)
  • Jared Zezel (Hibbing, Minn.) and Vicky Persinger (Fairbanks, Alaska)

Teams already qualified to the 2017 USA Curling Mixed Doubles National Championship:

  • Matt Hamilton and Becca Hamilton (both of McFarland, Wis.)
  • Courtney George (Minnetonka, Minn.) and Tyler George (Duluth, Minn.)
  • Kroy Nernberger (Madison, Wis.) and Nina Roth (McFarland, Wis.)
  • Chris Plys and Aileen Geving (both of Duluth, Minn.)
  • Joe Polo (Duluth, Minn.) and Tabitha Peterson (Minneapolis, Minn.)
  • Cory Christensen (Duluth, Minn.) and John Shuster (Superior, Wis.)

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For more information: Terry Davis, Director of Communications, terry.davis@usacurl.org, 608-338-9900 (mobile) or 715-344-1199, Ext. 202 (office).